Date of Award

Spring 5-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Engineering and Applied Science


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Major Professor

Dr. Bhaskar Kura

Second Advisor

Dr. Norma Jean Mattei

Third Advisor

Dr. Malay Ghose Hajra

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Tumulesh Kumar Solanky

Fifth Advisor

Dr. Dimitrios Charalampidis


Welding is a metal joining process widely used in many manufacturing facilities around the world. It involves the process of heating the base and filler metals to a high temperature that leads to the formation of fumes. Welding emissions consist of gaseous pollutants and micron and sub-micron particles consisting of different heavy metals. Health risks associated with exposures to weld fume is well recognized in the literature. This research evaluates emissions and emission factors applicable to gas metal arc welding (GMAW) on AH 36 (mild steel) and 316 L (stainless steel). Emission factors evaluated consisted, total fume, chromium, cobalt, lead, manganese, and nickel. A weld fume chamber is used to capture the welding fumes onto a filter and then further analyzed to quantify the total fume and heavy metal emissions. Critical operating parameters such as current, voltage, shielding gas, welding speed, and contact tube to work distance (CTWD) were considered while evaluating emissions and emission factors. The parameters with greater influence on emissions are selected, and then the heavy metal emissions are quantified by varying those parameters using inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry (ICP-AES) and portable XRF (X-Ray Fluorescence) analyzer. The heavy metal results from the ICP-AES and XRF are compared to explore the feasibility of using XRF analyzer in quantifying the heavy metals in welding fumes. Using the heavy metal emissions, the lifetime carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic risks are evaluated for the GMAW process. The mild steel (MS) and stainless steel (SS) statistical analysis results indicate current and voltage are most influencing parameters in generating the fumes in GMAW. This research found a significant linear relationship between ICP-AES and XRF heavy metal results. The lifetime carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic risks results indicate high potential health risks if not properly managed.


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